August 03, 2012

True Christians, True Scotsmen and Venn Diagrams

Sometimes atheists will claim that anyone who professes to be a Christian is really a Christian, no matter what they do. In making such claims they attempt to lump people such as Hitler in a category together with all people who attempt to sincerely follow the word of God and Christ's teachings. Conversely, the same atheists will claim that a secular humanist, such as Peter Singer, in no way represents a valid humanist point of view because the distinguished professor at Princeton supports bestiality and that is considered too extreme.

The problem for the atheist is quite simple. A Christian has a specific text to study and follow in order to clarify what a true Christian is. Atheists and secular humanists have no such standardized text to use as a guide or a standard. For these reasons, a greater scrutiny can be placed on Christians in order to test the validity of their beliefs. And proposing that a verbal profession alone constitutes valid Christianity completely irrespective of actions not only runs counter to common sense, it runs counter to secular dictionary definitions of what a Christian is as well. Dictionary definitions, Venn diagrams and the principles of logic are all useful in helping to discern the main identifying characteristics of various worldviews, what they imply and if they are actually true or not.
  



1. Websters:

Chris•tian

a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ b (1) : disciple 2 (2) : a member of one of the Churches of Christ separating from the Disciples of Christ in 1906 (3) : a member of the Christian denomination having part in the union of the United Church of Christ concluded in 1961.

2: Oxford

Chris•tian

noun: a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

According to two of the top secular dictionaries, Christianity is not simply a profession, but a profession and a belief attached to certain specific teachings and actions. Therefore, verbal professions alone are not adequate according to secular dictionaries. This, of course, makes sense because anyone can say, "I am a Christian" while at the same time showing opposition to the basic tenets of scripture. There would be many advantages for political leaders who are not sincere Christians who would put on an act in order to garner a following in a nation of Christians. And we have seen this occur repeatedly in history, even as it is occurring at this very moment.

Anthony Flew, a famous apologist for atheism who later became a Christian, came up with a proposition known as the 'No True Scotsman" that has been defined by the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy as an informal logical fallacy.

No True Scotsman

"This error is a kind of ad hoc rescue of one’s generalization in which the reasoner re-characterizes the situation solely in order to escape refutation of the generalization." Atheists often claim that the No True Scotsman fallacy supports the view that such people as Hitler are true representatives of Christianity.
A simple rendition of the 'No True Scotsman' would be as follows:

    Alice: All Scotsmen enjoy haggis pudding.

    Bob: My uncle is a Scotsman, and he doesn't like haggis pudding!

    Alice: Well, all true Scotsmen like haggis pudding.

As far as Hitler is concerned, the conversation would be slightly different: "Hitler could not have been a Christian." "Why not?" "Because no true Christians would deceive the public as such and advocate the genocide of innocent people simply because they are Jewish." "But Hitler said he was a Christian, so he was a Christian. - According to the No Scotsman fallacy, you can't just say he wasn't a Christian just because your view of Christianity may differ from Hitler's personal viewpoint." The No True Scotsman fallacy falls flat with respect to Hitler and Christianity because, as a group, pathological liars and murderers would not be considered a group-characteristic of true Christians.

As Thomas Shirk has pointed out, the reason the No True Scotsman Fallacy is in fact a fallacy is because being a Scotsman is not based on culinary tastes: "...the fallacy becomes valid when set (X) and (Y) are nonintersecting!  Since “Scotsman” has no relation to culinary tastes, the sets are capable of intersecting." Take an example where it would work:

    Alice: All Christians enjoy spiritual regeneration.

    Bob: My uncle is a Christian, and he doesn't have spiritual regeneration.

    Alice: Well, all true Christians enjoy spiritual regeneration.

The objection does work in the above case because spiritual regeneration is a vital characteristic of being a true Christian, unlike a mere culinary taste. Whether or not one likes a certain pudding could perhaps be a subjective identifying characteristic of what a person considers a true Scotsman. But, from an objective perspective, it would not be as important as other considerations. The following Venn diagram outlines how the citizenship and heritage factors would probably be more important qualities to consider than affinities for pudding.


When you consider Christianity in a similar manner, what are the most important characteristics that would define a person as a true Christian? According to common sense, a mere moment's confession would not hold as much weight as other characteristics. Both the secular dictionary and the word of God offer that a desire to believe in and follow the actual teachings of Christ is a necessary aspect of being a true Christian. Though only God knows the true state of a person's soul, Jesus said we would know a tree by its fruit. We can have an idea if a person is a true follower of Christ if there is good fruit coming from that person's life.

And there is another aspect, the most important one according to Christ, being born again. According to scripture, good and lasting fruit from a person's life that has a positive and lasting influence is only possible if a person has experienced spiritual regeneration. Jesus said, "You must be born again" if you want to experience eternal life in God's kingdom. It's not merely an option, according to Christ. Though only God knows if a person is in fact born again, there are signs in a person's life that may help to signify this. One of those is sensing the presence of God. Romans 5.5 states, "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."(NIV)

In contrast to the life of a Christian who has the word of God and the Spirit of God as guides and validation, there is no textbook on how to become philosophically validated atheist. On the contrary, an atheist may supposedly be a philosophically validated atheist simply by existing because there is no God and no standard that would require any kind of moral validation. If a person holds to a form of atheism that is non-religious and morally relative, then this would allow for the supposed justification of many acts a Christian would find morally reprehensible. When you consider a Venn diagram of atheism, moral relativism and zoophilia, it's easy to see how a certain subgroup of atheists may believe that they are morally vindicated in the support and practice of something as unnatural as zoophilia. 


Many atheists are hard-pressed to describe objective reasons why they would find zoophilia morally objectionable without the existence of God, and yet, the same atheists will often proclaim that this behavior is morally unsupportable. It can be a bit daunting to attempt to express these feelings. For example, when I asked PZ Myers if he believed bestiality should be legal or not, he replied, “So, to answer clueless thick-skulled Christian idiot’s question, I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions, but do not support it in any way.” It is logically incoherent for a person to say he does not morally object to- and does not morally support some extreme action. If PZ Myers were to say, "I do not object to pedophilia under certain circumstances and I do not support pedophilia." - would that make any logical sense? 

These types of statements and sentiments help to underscore the fact that objective moral standards do in fact exist and they are grounded in something atheists cannot acknowledge, God's existence. Because atheists reject God's existence as the ultimate moral reference point, they are left with the type of moral confusion that PZ Myers and other atheists often exhibit.

Tags: No true Scotsman fallacy, Anthony Flew, what is a true Christian? Was Hitler really a Christian? Christian Venn diagrams, philosophical Venn diagrams, PZ Myers and atheist moral confusion, how to test a worldview based on morality, Peter singer is a valid secular humanist, Hitler cannot be considered a valid Christian. 

Related

Core Essentials of The Christian Faith


Logical Reasons why Moral Relativism is False

A Moral Argument as Proof of God’s Existence

51 comments:

  1. The irony of this post is that it sprang from my accusing Rick of taking upon himself the authority to define "True Christians" -- and here he is doing exactly that, dismissing other people's beliefs and practices based on no authority but his own interpretation of Scripture.

    So, given that he has already admitted my previous point simply by posting this, let's go on to deconstruct the errors:

    1) Let us notice that "born-again" is an inherent part of his definition of "true Christian", despite appearing in neither of his treasured dictionary definitions. Sorry, Catholics, Episcopalians, Orthodox of whatever flavors, you're not Christian -- Rick said so.

    2) Let us also notice that "Christians who try to follow the word of God" -- again, by whose interpretation? In the last place we had this discussion, I pointed out that Christians who believed homosexuals needed to be killed by the state, such as R.J. Rushdoony, had textual evidence for this belief. Rick has not responded to this assertion.

    So, again -- what defines "trying to follow the word of God?" Apparently, Rick's interpretation of the Bible.

    3) Rick's version of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy is one of them -- ironically, we may have a "No True Fallacy" problem here. ;) While non-intersection is a valid case, so is definitional difference -- which is what we have here, in each case.

    It is made particularly vivid by the fact that Rick either refuses to give definitions other than the broadest and vaguest (e.g. the dictionary) or admit that his definitions are personal (e.g. what constitutes "Following the word of God.) The latter, in particular, allows him to exclude from his category the views of whoever he does not like, along with their actions.

    Jesus said we would know a tree by its fruit. We can have an idea if a person is a true follower of Christ if there is good fruit coming from that person's life.

    And this is precisely the reasoning prosperity preachers use to argue for their doctrine. So, I presume you have no problem with them?

    Similarly -- if someone devotes their life to stomping out "sin", and they do so, is that a good fruit?

    Your definition also conveniently allows you to go "No, that failed, therefore that's not true Christian", allowing you to insulate your doctrine against failure. This is very similar to the methodological flaws asserted against the Regnerus paper recently discussed, in that anything disqualifying a case from the most successful group caused the case to be excluded, while no such filter was applied to any other group.

    By this standard, no "True Christian" can fail or be mistaken, since their fruits would not be good; therefore, the only way to know a "True Christian" is to know their results.

    And given that the fruits of your rhetoric are misrepresentations, lies, and errors, this does not bode well for you, Rick.

    Though only God knows if a person is in fact born again, there are signs in a person's life that may help to signify this.

    So, we have no way of knowing if this has happened, so any doctrinal sense of "born-again" Christians is irrelevant.

    Which is it, Rick: Is the "born-again" part of the Venn diagram saying "all these people aren't Christians" or is it saying "We have no idea where anyone is in this set but we're adding it in there to make it look good"?

    (Or "We'll claim #2 when we're called on #1, but we know that people like us know it's really #1?")

    (continued)

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    Replies
    1. Part 1

      >here he is doing exactly that, dismissing other people's beliefs and practices based on no authority but his own interpretation of Scripture.

      - Wrong. You have stated that a mere verbal profession of Christian belief, irrespective of the heart condition or the actions of individuals, makes one a true Christian. You stated you support the No True Scotsman argument.

      I offered two definitions from respected dictionaries that profession of belief in actual, specific teachings of Christ are a better definition of Christianity. This is without even stating what that interpretation of scripture might be.

      >Let us notice that "born-again" is an inherent part of his definition of "true Christian", despite appearing in neither of his treasured dictionary definitions.

      - As I noted in the previous comment, the mere assertion that scripture should be believed and followed is explicitly described in both dictionary definitions. That one point has already disproven your No True Scotsman Fallacy because Hitler offered no such evidence in his life.

      >It is made particularly vivid by the fact that Rick either refuses to give definitions other than the broadest and vaguest

      - The need to follow scripture is already more specific than the definition you offer: just to verbally profess belief.

      >So, we have no way of knowing if this has happened, so any doctrinal sense of "born-again" Christians is irrelevant.

      - Because we as humans have no way of proving a person is or is not born again does not negate the fact that it is described by Christ as a necessary condition of salvation and Christianity.

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    2. - Wrong. You have stated that a mere verbal profession of Christian belief, irrespective of the heart condition or the actions of individuals, makes one a true Christian.

      I have said nothing about "true" Christians. I have quoted, as have you, a dictionary definition of "Christian".

      I note that the "heart condition" of a person is not something you can judge, and therefore not something you can use when choosing to describe someone as a Christian or not.

      I offered two definitions from respected dictionaries that profession of belief in actual, specific teachings of Christ are a better definition of Christianity.This is without even stating what that interpretation of scripture might be.

      I suspect you will find very few people who claim to be Christians who do not claim to believe in the teachings of Christ. ;)

      That one point has already disproven your No True Scotsman Fallacy because Hitler offered no such evidence in his life.

      He went to church. He claimed to be a Christian. That's evidence. It may not be evidence enough for oyu, but claiming "no such evidence" is a lie.

      - Because we as humans have no way of proving a person is or is not born again does not negate the fact that it is described by Christ as a necessary condition of salvation and Christianity.

      However, since it is unknowable to us, it is irrelevant in trying to define who, for purposes of discussion, is a Christian or not.

      I notice you have once again deleted my comments regarding specific Christians. So, Rick:

      Are Catholics Christian?
      Are the Russian Orthodox Christian?
      Was R.J. Rushdoony a Christian?

      And if not, why not?

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    3. >I suspect you will find very few people who claim to be Christians who do not claim to believe in the teachings of Christ. ;)

      Interesting, then, that you made a special care to point out that your chosen definition of Christianity excludes the teachings of Christ. :-), as noted:

      n. 1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.

      Note the word "or" in there.

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/studies-show-traditional-families-offer.html?showComment=1343670124110#c66292806216454050

      Yes, you did note the word "or" there :-) and now you have backtracked and offer that, even if a Christian does study scripture, this is insignificant.

      I noticed you did not offer that Hitler had any inclination to read the Bible and grow as a Christian, but that he "Went to Church. He claimed to be a Christian."

      However, according to the definition of Christianity you offered, "[a Christian] follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus."

      So, where in the New Testament are we asked to deceive our own nation into helping to murder all the Jews in the world? And if this is not explicitly stated, what "teachings of Jesus" may even remotely be used to justify this?

      >Are Catholics Christian?
      Are the Russian Orthodox Christian?
      Was R.J. Rushdoony a Christian?

      And if not, why not?

      - If you take a brief survey of the New Testament and what Jesus taught, you will find that membership to a religious organization does not qualify a person for salvation. An organization may teach this in error, but it is not an idea supported by scripture.

      When speaking about salvation, Jesus offered that true salvation is based on a personal relationship, not following the rules and rituals of religion:

      Matt 7.22-23: "Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

      There are most likely true Christians in all denominations today who do have a sincere and true relationship with God and who have been born again spiritually. It is not the human organization that qualifies, but the divine regeneration that counts above all, at least according to the plain reading of scriptural text. This regeneration is evidenced by outward signs that may be objectively observed and weighed.

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    4. Interesting, then, that you made a special care to point out that your chosen definition of Christianity excludes the teachings of Christ. :-)

      Actually, you should learn the difference between "excludes" and "does not require."

      Indeed, one of your definitions does not require it: " a person who has received Christian baptism" under the Oxford, IIRC.

      
So, where in the New Testament are we asked to deceive our own nation into helping to murder all the Jews in the world?

      Well, there are a bunch of Christian Nationalists who seem to take that worldview. Indeed, someone with the right frame of mind could certainly take "I come not to bring peace, but the sword" and the accusation that the Jews murdered Jesus and come to that conclusion -- and many, throughout history, have. If it was just one madman, you might have a point, but there is a lengthy history of Christian anti-Semitism to cope with.

      If you take a brief survey of the New Testament and what Jesus taught, you will find that membership to a religious organization does not qualify a person for salvation.

      That is beside the point; not "Are all X saved", but "are X Christian?"

      There are most likely true Christians in all denominations today who do have a sincere and true relationship with God and who have been born again spiritually.

      And you give no way to tell who any of them are -- oh, except by exclusion, on the grounds that if they don't do something you consider "Christian", they're not true Christians.

      This regeneration is evidenced by outward signs that may be objectively observed and weighed.

      And what are those "outward signs", other than agreeing with Rick Warden? You've repeatedly failed, despite many opportunities, to give *any*.

      This brings us back to the original point -- you exclude people from your definition of Christian if you disagree with what they've done, because they don't match your "objective signs". And yet you include anyone who has ever claimed to be an atheist and expect other atheists to defend them.

      So, give us some "objective signs". Then we can see whether or not any of your so-called true Christians have done things that are problematic.

      (Aside from lie to governments, put their parishoners at risk, and alienate their neighbors, violating the Golden Rule -- unless Michael Salman isn't a true Christian.)

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    5. >So, where in the New Testament are we asked to deceive our own nation into helping to murder all the Jews in the world? ...Well, there are a bunch of Christian Nationalists who seem to take that worldview. someone with the right frame of mind could certainly take "I come not to bring peace, but the sword... and the accusation that the Jews murdered Jesus and come to that conclusion -- and many, throughout history, have."

      - So, first, you are not offering any specific verse that supports or justifies hatred and genocide towards Jews. You are merely offering a twisted summary and interpretation of multiple events.

      Because Jews were instrumental in killing Christ, they supposedly have to be wiped out. The same Rationale could be used against the Roman Empire, who were the ones who actually killed Christ. However, the early Christians did not violently attack Romans, just as they did not violently attack Jews. Therefore, the rationale for this justification is vacuous.

      Furthermore, if this is true, then why would the Apostle Paul hove promoted that Christ's gospel of love be offered as a priority first to the Jews?

      Romans 1.16 states: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

      Paul is certainly not proposing any type of hatred towards the Jews here, but a message of God's love.

      You have offered no scriptural justification for the hatred and genocide of Jews. Rather, the opposite. You have helped to outline the fact that there is no scriptural justification, merely a twisted interpretation used most likely for political ends.

      Now if we were to look at all the verses that contradict such a view, they would be legion:

      1. Romans 11.1: "I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

      2. Matthew 5.38-39: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

      3. Matthew 5.43: Love your enemies.

      4. Matthew 5.44: But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

      5. 1 Peter 3.9: Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

      An analogy:

      One might as well claim that the US Patriot act is justified by the US Constitution. "Well, the government has the right to break all of the specific amendments in the Constitution that protect civil liberties because the government has the ultimate goal of protecting Americans!"

      There are actually many Americans who have been deceived into believing the above statement is true because they have a blind patriotism and a lack of critical thinking skills. But their ignorant beliefs do not mean that the Constitution does in fact justify the Patriot Act. For a rational, logical person, the Constitution completely discredits the Patriot Act and shows it is illegal and unconstitutional on multiple points.

      You see, if a person is objective and logical, it does not matter if there is a "lengthy history of Christian anti-Semitism to cope with." - Because the acts of twisted people who attempt to justify actions based on the complete misinterpretation of scripture in no way undermines the scriptures themselves.

      This is for the same reasons that the US Patriot Act did not suddenly erase all the objective meaning of the US Constitution, even though it may appear as such if we were to consider the attitudes of typical Americans and politicians today.

      Now, when we come to the subject of Peter Singer, where is the text that shows that Peter Singer's views are in conflict with the tenets of Secular Humanism?

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    6. Congratulations, Rick; your derail almost worked.

      You eliminated everything from my response except the arguments about Hitler. Who was not even a factor in the original discussion that sparked all this off -- you introduced him as a red flag.

      So, let's get back on track, shall we:
      There are most likely true Christians in all denominations today who do have a sincere and true relationship with God and who have been born again spiritually.

      And you give no way to tell who any of them are -- oh, except by exclusion, on the grounds that if they don't do something you consider "Christian", they're not true Christians.

      This regeneration is evidenced by outward signs that may be objectively observed and weighed.

      And what are those "outward signs", other than agreeing with Rick Warden? You've repeatedly failed, despite many opportunities, to give *any*.

      This brings us back to the original point -- you exclude people from your definition of Christian if you disagree with what they've done, because they don't match your "objective signs". And yet you include anyone who has ever claimed to be an atheist and expect other atheists to defend them.

      So, give us some "objective signs". Then we can see whether or not any of your so-called true Christians have done things that are problematic.

      (Aside from lie to governments, put their parishoners at risk, and alienate their neighbors, violating the Golden Rule -- unless Michael Salman isn't a true Christian.)


      And was R.J. Rushdoony a Christian, or not, Rick?

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    7. >And you give no way to tell who any of them are (true Christians).

      - Long sigh.

      You know, it's funny that you claim I am in denial when I continue to answer your same questions over and over again and you apparently cannot challenge my answers so your only resort seems to be to claim that I have not answered you. :-)

      When discussing the definition of a Christian, you wrote (July 30, 2012 9:57 AM)

      "I'm defining "Christians" as "people who self-identify that way."

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/studies-show-traditional-families-offer.html?showComment=1343667477259#c8236537465382312328

      I have continuously offered that belief in the specific teachings of Christ and a desire to both know and follow Christ's precepts is a better indication of true Christianity than a mere confession of faith, as noted:

      "I offered two definitions from respected dictionaries that profession of belief in actual, specific teachings of Christ are a better definition of Christianity(than your "self identification"). This is without even stating what that interpretation of scripture might be."(August 3, 2012 4:50 PM)

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/true-christians-true-scotsmen-and-venn.html?showComment=1344037837703#c827244955461461022

      In the article itself, I noted a manner for helping to identify a true believer:

      "Though only God knows the true state of a person's soul, Jesus said we would know a tree by its fruit. We can have an idea if a person is a true follower of Christ if there is good fruit coming from that person's life."

      This fruit may be identified by a number of things I've noted already (with specific Bible verses), a love for God's word, a desire to please God and follow God's word, etc.

      >Congratulations, Rick; your derail almost worked. You eliminated everything from my response except the arguments about Hitler.

      Hitler is an example inexorably tied with Christianity and the No True Scotsman fallacy, a subject you brought up and claim is valid with regard to Hitler. It also ties in completely with the question of "What defines a true Christian?" Your defense of Hitler's Christianity is quite weak:

      "He went to church. He claimed to be a Christian. That's evidence. It may not be evidence enough for oyu, but claiming "no such evidence" is a lie." (August 3, 2012 6:24 PM)

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/true-christians-true-scotsmen-and-venn.html?showComment=1344043452800#c7177894419064015487

      I have explained why mere rituals such as going to church do not necessarily imply true salvation:

      "When speaking about salvation, Jesus offered that true salvation is ultimately based on a personal relationship with God, not following the rules and rituals of religion:

      Matt 7.22-23: "Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" (August 3, 2012 7:00 PM)

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/true-christians-true-scotsmen-and-venn.html?showComment=1344045638932#c3755123092782972008

      Though we cannot literally see whether a person is truly saved or not, we can observe the fruit of a person's life and weigh that objectively. With regard to Hitler, he comes up quite short.

      Perhaps you can clarify a point for me:

      Pray tell, in what manner is the desire to "self-identify" as a Christian a better indication (and identification) of true Christianity than a desire to understand the word of God and to follow it?

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    8. have continuously offered that belief in the specific teachings of Christ and a desire to both know and follow Christ's precepts is a better indication of true Christianity than a mere confession of faith,

      And I and anonymous have repeatedly told you that in terms of determining whether some third party is a Christian or not, this is a subjective definition.

      We can have an idea if a person is a true follower of Christ if there is good fruit coming from that person's life."

      I hope you realize just how self-undermining this definition is to any claims you might have, Rick.


      I have explained why mere rituals such as going to church do not necessarily imply true salvation:


      Rick, you're being dishonest again. There is a huge difference between "No evidence" and "necessarily implying" something. And if you can't see that, then I apologize -- you're not being dishonest. You merely understand nothing of logic whatsoever, and have no business using the term until you educate yourself.


      Your fruits in this discussion are lies, misrepresentations, and deceptions. Clearly, you're no true follower of Christ, Rick -- that's the only conclusion I can draw from your own arguments and behavior.

      Pray tell, in what manner is the desire to "self-identify" as a Christian a better indication (and identification) of true Christianity than a desire to understand the word of God and to follow it?

      Because one of them can be judged from the outside and used as a basis for comparison, as in "Christians say or do X", while the other one is useless for such purposes. I shall remember in the future that any time you make an assertion regarding "Christians" it's meaningless, because your definition is unverifiable and utterly fluid.

      Or, as I said at the beginning of this, to you a 'true Christian" is one who does things you agree with.

      Delete
  2. R:This, of course, makes sense because anyone can say, "I am a Christian" while at the same time showing opposition to the basic tenets of scripture.

    The only problem would be that the Bible is open to thousands of interpretentions. By your own standards, you and people that COMPLETELY agree with you are the only Christians in the world. 8)

    R:According to common sense, a mere moment's confession would not hold as much weight as other characteristics

    It would if the person dies right after that moment, according to your philosophy. A mass killer in heaven and a good person in hell...hm...Indeed, justice has been served

    R:Both the secular dictionary and the word of God offer that a desire to believe in and follow the actual teachings of Christ is a necessary aspect of being a true Christian.

    Do give some evidence at least that your personal intepretention of those teachings is the only possible and right one.

    R:Though only God knows if a person is in fact born again, there are signs in a person's life that may help to signify this. One of those is sensing the presence of God.

    What is the difference from a delusion or just an honest mistake?

    R:On the contrary, an atheist may supposedly be a philosophically validated atheist simply by existing because there is no God and no standard that would require any kind of moral validation.

    Straw man. Morals exist irrespective of the existence of God.

    R:It is logically incoherent for a person to say he does not morally object to- and does not morally support some action.

    Sigh...Rick forgive me, but you are an idiot with an attention spam of a 3 year old. An example has been giving to you multiple times with smoking before. It is possible to not morally support smoking yet not object to it either.

    R:If PZ Myers were to say, "I do not object to pedophilia under certain circumstances and I do not support pedophilia." - would that make any logical sense?

    Yes it would. The age of consent is different from one country to another and depending of the time period. Furthermore, people do not age at the same pace and some grow up at a faster rate.

    P.S. Still no answer on Salman s case and no acknowledgement on the dishonesty of Dr. Regnurus

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    1. >The only problem would be that the Bible is open to thousands of interpretentions.

      - As noted earlier:

      A mere verbal profession of Christian belief, irrespective of the heart condition or the actions of individuals, does not make one a true Christian, even with respect to basic dictionary dictionary definitions. Even before you get to the question of how to interpret scripture, if there is no sincere interest at all to know or follow scripture, then there is not a sign of true Christianity.

      >Do give some evidence at least that your personal intepretention of those teachings is the only possible and right one.

      - Again, for the third time, before we even address the question of interpretation, we have the issue of whether or not a person is interested in understanding scripture and following it sincerely. We do not see signs of this in Hitler's life and for such reasons the 'No True Scotsman' fails immediately in this regard.

      I offered two definitions from respected dictionaries that profession of belief in actual, specific teachings of Christ are a better definition of Christianity. This is without even stating what that interpretation of scripture might be.

      >An example has been giving to you multiple times with smoking before. It is possible to not morally support smoking yet not object to it either.

      - Smoking and bestiality are a bit different, as opposed to bestiality and pedophilia, which are both considered sexual perversions in most cultures.

      >Yes it would (make sense to both not support and not object to pedophilia) . The age of consent is different from one country to another and depending of the time period.

      - So, pedophile is supposedly moral in one country and not in another simply based on local laws? Do you believe that premeditated murder would be morally acceptable in one country and not in another based on whether or not local laws supported premeditated murder?

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  3. Part #2:

    It is logically incoherent for a person to say he does not morally object to- and does not morally support some action

    This is only true if you accept and assert that the Law of the Excluded Middle applies to all questions of behavior and morality. Is it logically incoherent to say:

    "I do not morally object to people ordering breakfast foods at lunch, but I do not morally support people ordering breakfast foods at lunch. I find the issue morally neutral."

    No, it is not.

    These types of statements and sentiments help to underscore the fact that objective moral standards do in fact exist and they are grounded in something atheists cannot acknowledge, God's existence.

    And here we go with truth by blatant assertion, backed up with meaningless Venn diagrams.

    (Which reminds me: your Venn diagram at the top doesn't exclude Hitler (your example, not mine, BTW) from the list; he confessed Christianity, and believed he was trying to do God's will. And, since we can't know, according to your claim below, if he was born again, or not, we don't know where he fits in that ring. All we have is your say-so that he's not, again, which is where we began this whole discussion.)

    All of your venn diagrams can be summed up as logical statements of the form:

    In order to be Z, you must be A,B, and C. For each of A, B, and C there exist possible entites that are each only, each possible tuple, and the unity.

    And that's being as technical and hairsplitting as possible. To be clear in a discussion, all you had to say was:

    "To be a true Christian, you need to confess Christianty, be born again, and try to follow the word of God."

    Where the problem comes in with your rhetoric, Rick, is that when it is something you support, you are very careful to narrow down the definition (It must be A, B, and C) if there is an issue, while you are quite prepared to describe as "Humanist" something that partakes of A, B, and C whether the individual does or not. In other words:

    If any humanist makes an assertion, you claim "humanists assert (x)" without disclaimer, while if a Christian does something, if you disapprove of it, "Christians assert (x)" is, in your opinion, untrue.

    Or, to be more precise: when it comes to people you disagree with,
    "There exists an X who said Y, therefore X said Y" is valid, while for groups you agree with, if there is a position you do not like,
    "There exists an X who said Y, therefore X said Y" is greeted with "But they're not really an X!"

    Got it?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Part 2

      >I do not morally support people ordering breakfast foods at lunch.

      - Why not? Why specifically would you not support a person's right to order breakfast foods at lunch. I find this perfectly acceptable morally. You seem to have a flawed analogy.

      >your Venn diagram at the top doesn't exclude Hitler ...he confessed Christianity, and believed he was trying to do God's will.

      - Misquote and failed point. My Venn diagram states, "Christians who try to follow word of God." Where in the New Testament are we asked to deceive our own nation into helping to murder all the Jews in the world? I must of missed that in my daily Bible readings.

      >Rick, is that when it is something you support, you are very careful to narrow down the definition (It must be A, B, and C) if there is an issue, while you are quite prepared to describe as "Humanist" something that partakes of A, B, and C whether the individual does or not.

      - As I pointed out, the core beliefs of atheists and humanists are quite general and do not come with a specific manual or textbook. Deal with it. When you try and insist that Perter Singer does not belong to the classification of secular humanist or atheist, and in no way offers a sample representation of what a person of these groups might logically believe (in perfect harmony with core ideas) you only serve to make yourself look quite ridiculous.

      Delete
  4. >I do not morally support people ordering breakfast foods at lunch.

    - Why not? Why specifically would you not support a person's right to order breakfast foods at lunch. I find this perfectly acceptable morally. You seem to have a flawed analogy.


    I didn't say a person's *right* to do so. I said the *act* of doing so. I consider it a morally neutral act.

    This is why I referenced the law of the excluded middle above; to make your claim, you have to assert that all acts are either morally supported or morally disapproved of. I think there is a third category.

    Where in the New Testament are we asked to deceive our own nation into helping to murder all the Jews in the world? I must of missed that in my daily Bible readings.

    I answered that question above. But my larger point, which remains, is that what you are doing is drawing a line, your *own* line, and saying "Bible interpretations on this side are right, and on this side are wrong."

    That is taking upon yourself the authority to decide whose Christianity is true, and whose isn't.

    When you try and insist that Perter Singer does not belong to the classification of secular humanist or atheist, and in no way offers a sample representation of what a person of these groups might logically believe (in perfect harmony with core ideas) you only serve to make yourself look quite ridiculous.

    I never said he was not part of the classification. I asserted, as you seem to be repeatedly unable to understand, that it is not valid to assert "Peter Singer believes X, therefore humanists believe X"

    All you have done since then is try to claim that it is legitimate to claim that Peter Singer is representative of "humanists" while, say, R.J. Rushdoony is not representative of "Christians". And the only the thing you can claim in defense of this is unspecified "objective signs" that indicate he's not. (Well, at least I presume you think he's not. Or else you'd freely accept the statement that "Christians believe that GLBTQ folk should be put to death."

    It's exactly the same logical statement as "Humanists believe that (fill in your preferred Singer position here)."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. >I didn't say a person's *right* to do so. I said the *act* of doing so. I consider it a morally neutral act.

      I'm a bit puzzled about this point of yours. In a previous comment you highlighted the fact that you needed to label Peter Singer as an extremist:

      "And *that* is my point. You repeatedly (e.g. your arguments in re: Peter Singer a while ago) assert that groups you don't like are to be identified with their extremists, while asserting that groups you do exclude said extremists."

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/studies-show-traditional-families-offer.html?showComment=1343686126284#c9101797968422098071

      Now, however, when push comes to shove, you are attempting to claim that Singer's beliefs are not extreme at all, but are morally "neutral" - even as Anonyrus is attempting to equate bestiality with a fairly morally innocuous smoking habit.

      So, which is it, is bestiality an extremist act or is it morally neutral? You two should probably make up your mind on this issue. :-)

      Delete
    2. ehhh...Thank you, Rick. I never knew that imnotandrei and me must have the same view on every single issue.

      Delete
    3. m a bit puzzled about this point of yours

      That's OK. A bit puzzled seems to be your default state these days.

      You claimed that saying "I do not morally oppose or support act (x)" was logically incoherent.

      I presented an example of how it could be coherent.

      You conflate this with a different point, and express confusion. I am not surprised.

      The claim regarding breakfast had nothing to do with Singer; it had to do with:It is logically incoherent for a person to say he does not morally object to- and does not morally support some extreme action.

      Logical coherence does not rely on the extremity or lack thereof of an action. Sorry, Rick, but try to learn to read.

      Delete
    4. ehhh...Thank you, Rick. I never knew that imnotandrei and me must have the same view on every single issue.

      And a fine example of exactly the problem I saw with Rick that started this whole long thread it is, isn't it?

      Delete
    5. Imnotandrei,

      >Logical coherence does not rely on the extremity or lack thereof of an action.

      It would if the case involved extremities in morality. :-)

      And, last I checked, that is what we are discussing,

      You had identified Peter Singer as an extremist due to his views on moral issues, such as bestiality:

      "You repeatedly (e.g. your arguments in re: Peter Singer a while ago) assert that groups you don't like are to be identified with their extremists..."

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/studies-show-traditional-families-offer.html?showComment=1343686126284#c9101797968422098071

      And now you are trying to claim that all moral decisions are equally interchangeable as examples, whether discussing bestiality or "ordering breakfast foods at lunch"

      Delete
    6. It would if the case involved extremities in morality. :-)

      Why? Logic is about formal reasoning, and what you consider "extreme" or not doesn't enter into it.

      The assertion you made was that "All actions must either be morally supported or morally opposed, otherwise a position is logically incoherent."

      I have asserted "There exists a third category, 'morally neutral', into which acts can fall."

      Saying "But extreme acts are different!" isn't a logical distinction, it's a rhetorical one. As usual, your appeals to logic are false fronts for your appeals to rhetoric.

      And now you are trying to claim that all moral decisions are equally interchangeable as examples, whether discussing bestiality or "ordering breakfast foods at lunch"

      When it comes to *logical coherence*, which is what you were claiming did not exist, they are. Not in all cases, but in the specific case you were discussing.

      As usual, Rick, you are trying to change the argument, move the goalposts, and obliterate context in order to preserve your precious sense of righteousness.

      Delete
    7. >It would if the case involved extremities in morality. :-) ...Why? Logic is about formal reasoning, and what you consider "extreme" or not doesn't enter into it.

      Let's talk specifically about Peter Singer. You had called him an extremist due to his views on moral issues such as bestiality.

      1. Why is bestiality associated with an extremist attitude for you?

      2. Why was the supposed 'extremity' of Singer's moral positions even a consideration for you to bring up at all?

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/studies-show-traditional-families-offer.html?showComment=1343686126284#c9101797968422098071

      Delete
    8. Let's talk specifically about Peter Singer.

      No, Rick. Let's talk about R.J. Rushdoony, since you've had plenty of chances to blather on about Singer, but haven't answered me *once* on that point.

      And Peter Singer is *irrelevant* to the point this particular thread is about, which is your asssertion:

      is logically incoherent for a person to say he does not morally object to- and does not morally support some extreme action.

      It is *not* logically incoherent, as I have demonstrated before; if "morally neutral" is an available position at all, the extremity or lack thereof is irrelevant for any specific action.

      Admit you're wrong about that, and discuss Rushdoony for a while, and maybe we'll get back to Singer later. But I'm done letting you claim control of the discourse by deleting everything you don't care to respond to.

      Delete
    9. These are fairly simple questions, however, because you are backed into a corner you wish to change the subject. I will answer your questions about Rushdoony and then hopefully you will answer my questions:


      1. Why is bestiality associated with an extremist attitude for you?

      2. Why was the supposed 'extremity' of Singer's moral positions even a consideration for you to bring up at all?

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/studies-show-traditional-families-offer.html?showComment=1343686126284#c9101797968422098071

      As far as Rushdoony is concerned, why do you want me to analyze his Christianity?

      Delete
    10. As far as Rushdoony is concerned, why do you want me to analyze his Christianity?

      Because as I have brought up repeatedly, including 3-4 times in this thread alone, Rushdoony is an example of someone who professes Christianity who does not act in a way that you claim Christians would -- or, more precisely, you ahve repeatedly claimed they did not, such as here:

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/studies-show-traditional-families-offer.html?showComment=1343666702699#c4188268031212471166

      in a previous thread.

      Furthermore, I want to see if you can figure out a way to explain your judgment without relying upon some variant of "because I think so" -- since you have repeatedly claimed that you were *not* claiming the right to determine who was a "true Christian" or not, yet you are perfectly willing to talk in general tersm about what "Christians" do or don't do.

      These are fairly simple questions, however, because you are backed into a corner you wish to change the subject.

      I'm not backed into a corner, Rick; you're the one who retreated to a corner, tried to bring the entire discussion down to one subject *you* wanted to talk about, rather than address a host of other questions/points, and are now claiming I'm cornered.

      To take a point you deleted in order to focus solely on Singer:

      The assertion you made was that "All actions must either be morally supported or morally opposed, otherwise a position is logically incoherent."

      I have asserted "There exists a third category, 'morally neutral', into which acts can fall."


      You made a claim about logic, not Singer, originally. Now you're trying to make it all about Singer -- presumably because you realize your logical point is indefensible, and all you have left is trying to ask about Singer in the hopes you get something you think you can use later in an attack against me, most likely via an ad hominem approach, as you've done before.

      Delete
    11. Just reminding you, Rick, that posting that other blog post and having a discussion with an anti-Catholic lunatic which fills up your comment section does not mean I'm not waiting for your comment about Rushdoony. Nor will I forget if you don't answer, and the next time you have one of your set of "simple questions" that you pester people with, I'll remind you.

      Delete
  5. R:Even before you get to the question of how to interpret scripture, if there is no sincere interest at all to know or follow scripture, then there is not a sign of true Christianity.

    Do tell how can you understand if there is or is not a sincere interest to know or follow scripture? Would you claim that Luther was dishonest when he started his antisemite campaign? Hitler

    R:We do not see signs of this in Hitler's life and for such reasons the 'No True Scotsman' fails immediately in this regard.

    Hitler did say that he was a Christian and did go to church. We do not know if he often read the bible or not in private, but it is irrelevant. According to your philosophy, having the holy spirit, pointing out to you the right path, is enough. You do not know if the holy spirit manifested in Hitler or not, therefore you cannot claim that he was not a true christian.

    R:Smoking and bestiality are a bit different, as opposed to bestiality and pedophilia, which are both considered sexual perversions in most cultures.

    We are talking about the moral aspect of an action. It does not matter if its sexual perversion or not. Is smoking moral or not, Rick? If it is immoral, should we forbid smoking under the penalty of prison?

    R:Do you believe that premeditated murder would be morally acceptable in one country and not in another based on whether or not local laws supported premeditated murder?

    Sigh...You are spouting crap about your "objective" from humanity morality, Rick. If every one is ok with that action than it is moral in that society. Or at least no one feels any qualms from their conscience or any reprisals (which morality is all about). Head hunters tribes in New Guinea have never had any trouble with their hobbies. What you or I belive is completely irrelevant to them.

    R:Where in the New Testament are we asked to deceive our own nation into helping to murder all the Jews in the world?

    Nope, Rick. You cannot limit yourself to the New Testament. Jesus never said that he would cancel any parts of the Bible. And I think that Paul did say that it was ok to lie for Christ. If killing the jews was an act benefecial to the Christian faith like Hitler and Luther thought, it would be ok to deceive a nation or two.

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    1. >Do tell how can you understand if there is or is not a sincere interest to know or follow scripture? Would you claim that Luther was dishonest when he started his antisemite campaign? Hitler

      - Good comparison.

      On the one hand you have Martin Luther, who devoted much of his life to the study of scripture, as is well documented historically. And yet, Martin Luther was a mere human being when he lived upon this green earth. Is it possible that a person can make a sincere mistake in one or two points of scripture while at the same time being a sincere and genuine follower of Christ? It seems not only possible, but highly likely. Though he made mistakes with respect to his interpretation of the Jews in scripture, his life focus was towards spiritual growth.

      On the other hand, you have Hitler. There is no historical record that Hitler sought to study and understand scripture and to incorporate his growing knowledge of scripture into his daily life. What we do find, however, are a few key quotes about Christianity that he used to help garner Christian political support. His main drive in life was political and not spiritual.

      >Hitler did say that he was a Christian and did go to church. We do not know if he often read the bible or not in private, but it is irrelevant.

      In your view reading the Bible may be irrelevant, but a sincere desire to know and follow God's word is a key sign of true salvation. And if you wish to pursue the illusion that Hitler's acts were justified by the New Testament and the teachings of Christ, I suggest you read the following comment I offered to Imnotandrei:

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/true-christians-true-scotsmen-and-venn.html?showComment=1344079661891#c7203848613785797104

      Delete
    2. R:And yet, Martin Luther was a mere human being when he lived upon this green earth. Is it possible that a person can make a sincere mistake in one or two points of scripture while at the same time being a sincere and genuine follower of Christ?

      Finally, you acknowledged that people have different interpretentions of the bible. You cannot define if their are tru christians or not simply because you disagree with them.

      R:In your view reading the Bible may be irrelevant, but a sincere desire to know and follow God's word is a key sign of true salvation

      Do explain how you know that the person has a sincere desire to follow Christ or not. You have just acknowledged that people easily make mistakes in their intepretention of the Bible. What makes you so sure that your interpretention is the right one and not Luther s?

      Delete
  6. P.S.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_and_the_New_Testament

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_antisemitism

    ReplyDelete
  7. >What makes you so sure that your interpretention is the right one and not Luthers?

    - The fact that people differ on minor issues in the Bible does not mean the Bible does not outline objective criteria regarding salvation.

    A person who sincerely studies the Bible and is objective and open minded towards understanding the nature of true spiritual salvation will understand general requirements of salvation.

    Luther understood the nature of salvation and is considered to have been a true Christian, despite his misunderstanding of minor points related to the Jews. Opinions about attitudes towards Jews (whether they are equal to Christians or not in a spiritual sense) do not mean a person is not a true Christian. However, the mass murder of millions of innocent Jews is a good indicator, one of many in Hitler's case, that a person is not a true Christian.

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    1. The fact that people differ on minor issues in the Bible does not mean the Bible does not outline objective criteria regarding salvation

      The fact that people differ on *major* issues in the Bible, however, does.
      (And I find it amusing that an apparent difference that helped strengthen *centuries* of anti-Semitic violence is shrugged off as "minor")

      Opinions about attitudes towards Jews (whether they are equal to Christians or not in a spiritual sense) do not mean a person is not a true Christian. However, the mass murder of millions of innocent Jews is a good indicator, one of many in Hitler's case, that a person is not a true Christian.

      And, once again, it comes down to "Rick says this doesn't make one not a true Christian, while this does." Since you've offered no useful "objective" criteria, only your repeated subjective analysis and claims about unverifiable states (spiritually regenerated, for example)

      Delete
  8. R:A person who sincerely studies the Bible and is objective and open minded towards understanding the nature of true spiritual salvation will understand general requirements of salvation.

    By your definition, a person studying the bible, trying (note that it is impossible to be completely objective) to be objective and open-minded is a true Christian? By that standard an atheist can be a true christian, since they can study the bible, try to be open-minded and objective. See any problem here? Or are you going to at least add an apriori belief in the divine? No, still wrong...a muslim could then be considered a true christian...

    So a true Christian would be a person reading the bible, trying to understand objectively and...

    Do add other critiria, since those are clearly not enough.

    R:Luther understood the nature of salvation and is considered to have been a true Christian, despite his misunderstanding of minor points related to the Jews.

    Time for a little history lesson from wikipedia...

    "Luther's other major works on the Jews were his 60,000-word treatise Von den Juden und Ihren Lügen (On the Jews and Their Lies), and Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi (On the Holy Name and the Lineage of Christ), both published in 1543, three years before his death. Luther argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people but "the devil's people": he referred to them with violent, vile language. Luther advocated setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish prayerbooks, forbidding rabbis from preaching, seizing Jews' property and money, and smashing up their homes, so that these "poisonous envenomed worms" would be forced into labour or expelled "for all time". In Robert Michael's view, Luther's words "We are at fault in not slaying them" amounted to a sanction for murder. Luther's "recommendations" for how to treat the Jews was a clear reference to the "sharp mercy" of Deuteronomy 13, the punishments prescribed by Moses for those who led others to "false gods". Luther spoke out against the Jews in Saxony, Brandenburg, and Silesia. Josel of Rosheim, the Jewish spokesman who tried to help the Jews of Saxony in 1537, later blamed their plight on "that priest whose name was Martin Luther—may his body and soul be bound up in hell!—who wrote and issued many heretical books in which he said that whoever would help the Jews was doomed to perdition." Josel asked the city of Strasbourg to forbid the sale of Luther's anti-Jewish works: they refused initially, but relented when a Lutheran pastor in Hochfelden used a sermon to urge his parishioners to murder Jews. Luther's influence persisted after his death. Throughout the 1580s, riots led to the expulsion of Jews from several German Lutheran states. Luther was the most widely read author of his generation, and he acquired the status of a prophet within Germany. According to the prevailing view among historians, his anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany, and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an "ideal underpinning" for the Nazis' attacks on Jews"

    In the end, Hitler only followed the teachings of Luther to the letter. Indeed, a "minor point" of a true Christian.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Imnotandrei,

    >"Rousas John Rushdoony (April 25, 1916 – February 8, 2001) was a Calvinist philosopher, historian, and theologian and is widely credited as the father of Christian Reconstructionism and an inspiration for the modern Christian homeschool movement." - So, who are you to set up in judgment that he's not a Christian?

    - Where did I make a judgement that Rushdoony in particular is not a Christian?

    Quote please.

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  10. You objected to the statement:

    If that is so, then it's a shame that Christian influences in society tend to undermine the Constitution and encourage violence against LGBTQ folk.


    R.J. Rushdoony is an influence in society, who wants to undermine the COnstitution and encourages violence against LGBTQ folks. You asserted the above statement wasn't true. In order for it not to be true, R.J. Rushdoony can't be a Christian.

    That is where you made your judgment, Rick, when you denied the above statement's truth.

    So -- which is it? Is R.J. Rushdoony not a Christian, or do Christian influences in our society not seek to undermine the Constitution and encourage violence against LGBTQ individuals?

    Pick one.

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    1. Part 1

      >You objected to the statement: If that is so, then it's a shame that Christian influences in society tend to undermine the Constitution and encourage violence against LGBTQ folk.

      So, Imnotandrei, this is your basic logic:
      - 'Christian influences encourage violence against LGBTQ folk' - that equals… "You believe Rushdoony is not a Christian.'
      The reason why your logic is flawed is because Rushdoony’s actions are not the critical factor here, but the actual New Testament text is.

      Peter singer is acting in complete accord with the underlying tenets of atheistic secular humanism when he supports bestiality. He is not contradicting any fundamental text or belief. Rushdoony, or anyone who encourages violence against gay citizens, would not be acting in accordance with the basic tenets of Christianity. That is why your Rushdoony point is flawed. Your continued refusal to answer my questions about Peter Singer reveals that you are in a state of denial regarding the nature of moral phenomena.

      Continued.

      Delete
    2. Part 2

      You wrote:

      1. "And *that* is my point. You repeatedly (e.g. your arguments in re: Peter Singer a while ago) assert that groups you don't like are to be identified with their extremists..."

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/studies-show-traditional-families-offer.html?showComment=1343686126284#c9101797968422098071

      In response to PZ Myers stating he didn’t support or object to extreme moral situations, such as bestiality, I outlined:

      “It is logically incoherent for a person to say he does not morally object to- and does not morally support some extreme action.”

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/true-christians-true-scotsmen-and-venn.html?showComment=1344118223557#c1337925024869839452

      Your reply: “Logical coherence does not rely on the extremity or lack thereof of an action.”

      My reply: It would if the case involved extremities in morality.

      You: Logic is about formal reasoning, and what you consider "extreme" or not doesn't enter into it.

      So, who made you the judge to decide that logical arguments related to various extremes of moral conditions are not valid? Is it not logical to state that murder is a greater moral offense than smoking a cigarette or parking 10 minutes in a no parking zone? If you doubt this, then you are not only illogical, but also deluded.

      Delete
    3. The reason why your logic is flawed is because Rushdoony’s actions are not the critical factor here, but the actual New Testament text is.

      How is New Testament text relevant to what Christian influences are doing now, except through the actions of Christians?

      it's a shame that Christian influences in society tend to undermine the Constitution and encourage violence against LGBTQ folk.

      Either Rushdoony is a Christian, in which case the above statement is true, or he is not, in which case he is not proof that it is.

      Pick one: Is the statement true, or is Rushdoony not a Christian?

      You appear here to be trying to say he's not: Rushdoony, or anyone who encourages violence against gay citizens, would not be acting in accordance with the basic tenets of Christianity.

      So why can't you out and say it?

      (I will note that Luther, for example, did not feel that violence against Jews was not in accordance with basic tenets of Christianity, yet you've decided he's a True Christian.)

      (And for that matter, I notice you, Mr. The Constitution Is In Grave Danger, cut out the part about undermining the Constitution -- perhaps because it does *not* conflict with your New Testament principles.)

      Your continued refusal to answer my questions about Peter Singer reveals that you are in a state of denial regarding the nature of moral phenomena.


      Actually, i t reveals that I wasn't willing to let you completely control the discourse. You were refusing to answer my questions, so why should I answer yours?

      So, who made you the judge to decide that logical arguments related to various extremes of moral conditions are not valid?

      Ah -- you're trying to twist my words. I did not say they were not valid. I said that the extremity or lack thereof did not matter in the *logic* of the argument. You can establish your moral differences, but that does not allow you to say "On X, you can be morally neutral, but on Y you cannot, because I deem Y to be more extreme than X."

      Which is wht you've been trying to do. I have established a perfectly logically *coherent* three-part system; you may object that it doesn't fit your requirements, but that doesn't make it incoherent. And I do not give a fig for *your* requirements, in this case. You made a claim (logical incoherence) and it has not been supported.

      Delete
  11. Imnotandrei,

    >Either Rushdoony is a Christian, in which case the above statement is true, or he is not, in which case he is not proof that it is.

    - Non sequitur. Maybe an example from sports will help you:

    Dwayne Leverock (Sluggo) is the Bermudian who made the headlines ahead of the 2007 World Cup when the 130kg (fat) bowler took Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen's wickets. Leverock lives above a curry house.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/picturegalleries/4938709/Top-10-sporting-giants.html?image=2

    1. Dwayne Leverock is a famous sportsman - and he's fat.

    2. Therefore, according to your line of thinking, sports and sportsmen promote fatness.

    Oh, wait, sports training manuals do not actually suggest being fat, but the opposite. What do they suggest? Being trim. Hmmm. And the New Testament advocates love towards sinners, last I checked.

    BTW. Who is writing the main text for atheist secular morality today? People like 'distinguished professor' Peter Singer of Princeton, who advocates infanticide and bestiality.

    >You can establish your moral differences, but that does not allow you to say "On X, you can be morally neutral, but on Y you cannot, because I deem Y to be more extreme than X."

    - You are presupposing moral relativism. It is not merely a matter of my opinion, "I deem," when it comes to the existence of objective moral standards. If you disagree, then challenge the following claims with some examples:

    X (Torturing babies for fun) is always wrong.

    To support and promote X is always wrong.

    To oppose and resist X is always right.

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    1. Non sequitur.

      Considering that it followed directly from the post before, you clearly don't understand what that means.

      2. Therefore, according to your line of thinking, sports and sportsmen promote fatness.

      You're the one who started with "humanistic influences in society tend to glorify relationships focused on pleasure without commitment and every single possible alternative to a traditional family."

      You drew with the original broad brush. I made an assertion about things Christians did. And then cited a Christian that does those things.

      If you withdraw your original assertion, then we can drop all of this. Not to mention -- if you can't see the difference between "I am fat, and an athlete" and "I am promoting specific behaviors and attitude towards governance, and am a Christian", you're blinder than I thought.

      Hmmm. And the New Testament advocates love towards sinners, last I checked.

      Is that before or after it talks about them all burning in Hell? Actually, it's before.

      Funny how few so-called Christians follow the principles, then. Like Martin Luther, for example. (I am suddenly reminded of the classic Gandhi line -- "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.")

      BTW. Who is writing the main text for atheist secular morality today? People like 'distinguished professor' Peter Singer of Princeton, who advocates infanticide and bestiality.

      There are lots of people writing texts on the subject; which emerges as a "main" text has yet to be seen. It's one of the advantages of not relying on a single 2000-year-old text; the world changes, and people can adjust to it.

      Who started a massively influential movement in modern Christianity? R.J. Rushdoony, who advocates stoning homosexuals and obliterating the Constitution of the United States. If Singer is representative of humanists, Rushdoony is representative of Christians -- there are members of both groups who disapprove of them, and members who approve of them. They are in equivalent positions.

      - You are presupposing moral relativism. t is not merely a matter of my opinion, "I deem," when it comes to the existence of objective moral standards.

      We've been over this ground before. You failed utterly to address my logical points, as usual.

      You have repeatedly asserted the existence of objective moral standards; you have never come anywhere close to proving them. Note that if everyone agrees on a standard, that does not make it "objective" -- that just means it is universal. As in your case below.

      (Though it's worth noting that it is not uncommon in some flavors of Christianity to expect those in Heaven to delight in the suffering of those in Hell; and since there will be children in Hell, I suppose that those in Heaven are not actually torturing them for fun -- merely enjoying their torments.)

      " Wherefore in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned."

      For example.

      Anyone who believes in an eternal Hell is in no position to call out other people on the idea of torture.

      Delete
  12. Part 1



    >Considering that it followed directly from the post before, you clearly don't understand what that means (a non sequitur)

    - Long sigh.

    You wrote, "Rushdoony is a Christian, in which case the above statement is true"

    Plugging in the key point, your appalling logic is summarized as follows:

    "Rushdoony is a Christian" therefore, "Christian influences in society tend to encourage violence against LGBTQ folk." That, my friend, is a rather messy non sequitur. I offered you another ridiculous example similar to yours:

    A certain famous athlete happens to be fat, therefore, athletes tend to encourage fatness in society."

    You see, in order for a conclusion to logically follow from the premises, there has to be a logical connection between the known factors of cause and effect. Peter Singer is a secular humanist who is highly esteemed in academia and teaches in one of the leading universities. His present affirmations of bestiality and infanticide are in complete harmony with the most basic tenets of secular humanism as a philosophy. Someone who promotes hatred and violence, however, is not in keeping with the most basic tents of Christianity outlined in the original scriptures, therefore they may not be considered. That is why your point is a major failure. Do you wish to continue pretending you made a valid point here? How long do you wish to offer these pretensions?

    >You're the one who started with "humanistic influences in society tend to glorify relationships focused on pleasure without commitment and every single possible alternative to a traditional family."

    1. Can you outline how a focus on pleasure and a desire for alternatives to the traditional family go against the basic tenets of secular humanism?

    2. Christianity defines marriage and monogamy as sacred with absolute moral boundaries. Secular humanism offers that there are no absolute moral boundaries, but, ultimately desire for pleasure and perhaps a need not to physically hurt anyone. These are clear distinctions with clear cause-effect results in society.

    http://www.aboundingjoy.com/humanism_chart.htm

    - To be more precise, I would qualify my statement with a few more words, "secular" and "today" and "non-traditional" i.e. "Secular humanistic influences in society today tend to glorify non-traditional relationships focused on pleasure without commitment and every single possible alternative to the traditional family."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Rushdoony is a Christian" therefore, "Christian influences in society tend to encourage violence against LGBTQ folk." That, my friend, is a rather messy non sequitur. I offered you another ridiculous example similar to yours:

      Rushdoony's influences tend to undermine the Constitution and encourage violence against LGBTQ folk.
      Rushdoony is a Christian
      Therefore, Rushdoony is a Christian influence.
      Therefore, a Christian influence upon society tends to undermine the Constitution and encourage violence against LGBTQ folk.

      You see, in order for a conclusion to logically follow from the premises, there has to be a logical connection between the known factors of cause and effect.

      Funny, I'd say this demonstrates a significant portion of "cause" and "effect" -- from the source you cited on Rushdoony earlier: "[Rushdoony[ is widely credited as the father of Christian Reconstructionism and an inspiration for the modern Christian homeschool movement.[1][2] His followers and critics have argued that his thought exerts considerable influence on the Christian right.[3]"

      Peter Singer is a secular humanist who is highly esteemed in academia and teaches in one of the leading universities.

      And R.J. Rushdoony is considered an inspiration for major modern movements in Christianity. Indeed, given the number of people who subscribe to his views, to one degree or another, I submit he is much *more* influential than Singer, who is viewed as a member of the fringe by many humanists -- his positions on animal rights, for example, are extremely controversial. (Indeed, you will find more critics of Singer than supporters on places like Pharyngula.)

      Someone who promotes hatred and violence, however, is not in keeping with the most basic tents of Christianity outlined in the original scriptures, therefore they may not be considered.

      So, Martin Luther may not be considered, for example. Thomas Aquinas may not be considered. Jonathan Edwards may not be considered. Bryan Fischer may not be considered. Ron Paul may not be considered. No wonder you think Christianity is persecuted -- you don't seem to have many fellow Christians, if, indeed, *you* can be considered, given your support for people who promote hatred and violence.

      That is why your point is a major failure.

      That is why I repeatedly accused you of a "No True Scotsman" fallacy, Rick; if you don't like a Christian's positions, you accuse them of not being Christian, and therefore "they may not be considered." My point remains as valid as it always has.

      "humanistic influences in society tend to glorify relationships focused on pleasure without commitment and every single possible alternative to a traditional family."

      I repeat: you asserted "Influences X tend to do Y." I pointed out a similar construction, "Influences X tend to do Y", and you refuse to acknowledge the similarity, seeking to narrow the definition of X as far as possible in order to avoid it.

      Delete
    2. (part 2)

      1. Can you outline how a focus on pleasure and a desire for alternatives to the traditional family go against the basic tenets of secular humanism?

      Define "pleasure". A humanist model seeks the best outcome for all people involved -- that is not the same as, for example, a simple focus on "pleasure."

      2. Christianity defines marriage and monogamy as sacred with absolute moral boundaries. Secular humanism offers that there are no absolute moral boundaries, but, ultimately desire for pleasure and perhaps a need not to physically hurt anyone. These are clear distinctions with clear cause-effect results in society.

      See above about "pleasure". You don't know what you're talking about here.

      (I take it, by the way, that you object to divorce under all circumstances, since marriage and monogamy are "sacred"?)

      Oh, and don't think I didn't notice that "perhaps a need". Your straw-man characterizations of "humanism" are exactly what started this entire thread; respect for the rights and boundaries of individuals is at the core of the humanistic enterprise, yet you dismiss it with a "perhaps".

      (Your source, BTW, is hardly a reputable one on this subject, since it has clear biases.)

      Oh, and you've failed utterly to demonstrate your "clear cause-effect results" every time you've tried. If Regnerus' flawed study is the best you can come up with in this regard, it spotlights the weakness of your case.

      Secular humanistic influences in society today tend to glorify non-traditional relationships focused on pleasure without commitment and every single possible alternative to the traditional family."

      And I would tell you that that statement is false. You have no support for a general position among humanists for "pleasure without commitment" and "every single possible alternative" -- you have individual humanists saying things, and claiming that one humanist said something means that it is a "humanist influence" is....well, just see my point above about Rushdoony, right?

      Delete
    3. "Christian influences in society tend to encourage violence against LGBTQ folk."

      I notice once again you removed the "undermine the Constitution" part of that. It really doesn't help your credibility when you keep trying to change parts of my argument that give you problems.

      Delete
  13. Part 2

    >Is that before or after it talks about them all burning in Hell? Actually, it's before.

    - The implementation of eternal judgement is not an issue for the Christian to personally take on, according to scripture.

    >Who started a massively influential movement in modern Christianity? R.J. Rushdoony, who advocates stoning homosexuals

    - Can you show some quotes and examples of this "massively influential movement" that advocates stoning homosexuals?

    >You have repeatedly asserted the existence of objective moral standards; you have never come anywhere close to proving them.

    - Incorrect again. I just offered you an example of a universal and objective standard of morality and I asked you to disprove it. So where is your answer…

    >Note that if everyone agrees on a standard, that does not make it "objective" -- that just means it is universal. As in your case below.

    - There is an overlap between universal truth and objective truth. Do I need to make some more Venn diagrams?

    "Truth is considered to be universal if it is valid in all times and places. "What is absolutely true is always correct, everywhere, all the time, under any condition. An entity's ability to discern these things is irrelevant to that state of truth." - Steven Robiner [2][3][4

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universality_(philosophy)

    Objective - definition: "not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion."

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/objective

    My example offers a combination of both objective and universal truth. Whether or not you agree with it will not change these objective facts :-)



    1. X (Torturing babies for fun) is always wrong.



    2. To support and promote X is always wrong.



    3. To oppose and resist X is always right.

    Again, I'll ask: Do you have any examples that disprove these objective and universal premises? What is universal, unchanging and timeless is by definition objective.

    So, under what possible circumstances, in what possible time of history and in what possible corner of your multi-verse would theses premises be false?

    One logical example would prove me wrong. Do you have one to offer? Or shall we entertain some more lame excuses?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. - The implementation of eternal judgement is not an issue for the Christian to personally take on, according to scripture.

      No, but they are complicit in the torture by agreeing with it -- and they are expected to take pleasure in it.

      Which leads us, I suppose, to wonder -- so, it's OK to enjoy watching the torture of someone over a certain age, but not OK to enjoy watching it below a certain age? Because that's what you're effectively asserting, here.

      Again, anyone who believes in an eternal Hell, and does not weep for those suffering there, has no business calling anyone else out about torture.

      - Can you show some quotes and examples of this "massively influential movement" that advocates stoning homosexuals?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Reconstructionism
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Institutes_of_Biblical_Law

      Go and take a look, and follow the links. You'll see quite enough, I think.

      - Incorrect again. I just offered you an example of a universal and objective standard of morality and I asked you to disprove it. So where is your answer…

      You *asserted* it was objective. That is not the same as proving it is so.

      Similarly:

      There is an overlap between universal truth and objective truth.

      Saying this does not place any given truth in any given category.

      1. X (Torturing babies for fun) is always wrong.



      2. To support and promote X is always wrong.



      3. To oppose and resist X is always right.


      So, under what possible circumstances, in what possible time of history and in what possible corner of your multi-verse would theses premises be false?

      Since you want possible circumstances:

      Xlb the Wicked Prince has announced that any opposition to his plans to torture one baby for fun, by any member of the village, will result in the deaths of every member of that village, by torture. Furthermore, it is clear that resistance is futile; Xlb has brought his army with him, and they are far too well-armed. All you can do is state your resistance, and put up a token fight.

      So; is resisting the torture of that single baby, thereby guaranteeing the deaths of every member of the village, incontrovertibly "right"?

      Now; to add an extra twist: Say you knew, the moment you had to make that decision, that many of the people in the village were "unsaved", by whatever definition you wish to use, and that therefore causing their deaths would also lose them any chance to avoid eternal torment.

      Would resisting be right in this case?

      How many people are you willing to make martyrs for your "objective" truth, Rick?

      You said: "One logical example would prove me wrong."

      There you go, Rick. Accept that you're willing to martyr as many people as it takes for your "objective" principles, or accept that there are circumstances where the truths you choose to live by don't always approve.

      (brief note: Never challenge a science fiction/fantasy writer with the phrase "what possible..." -- we do this sort of thing for fun (and sometimes for a living)

      Delete
  14. >Go and take a look, and follow the links. You'll see quite enough, I think.

    - Sorry to break the news. There are no examples of actual influential Christians today supporting hatred or the stoning of gays there at your links.

    However, I have already offered links to valid and respected humanist sites that promote Peter Singer, the “distinguished” secular humanist professor at Princeton who advocates infanticide and bestiality.

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=psinger_26_4

    >So; is resisting the torture of that single baby, thereby guaranteeing the deaths of every member of the village, incontrovertibly "right"?

    - Your example is flawed. Villagers who feel they must torture babies and pretend the process is fun probably aren’t really having fun or doing it for fun, are they?

    - Nice try, but a failure. Want to try again?

    >So; is resisting the torture of that single baby, thereby guaranteeing the deaths of every member of the village, incontrovertibly "right"?

    - In the case you provided, the guilt would be on the heads of the murderers not those who refused to torture. Those who refused to torture would be morally justified.

    > Now; to add an extra twist: Say you knew, the moment you had to make that decision, that many of the people in the village were "unsaved", by whatever definition you wish to use, and that therefore causing their deaths would also lose them any chance to avoid eternal torment.

    - God alone ultimately knows and decides the eternal fate of individuals. Our responsibility is to act in the present in accordance with both our conscience and moral virtue, best outlined by the teachings of Christ. If the ‘end justifies the means’ mentality is used to justify egregious sins, then the ‘end justifies the means’ approach is not justified.

    > There you go, Rick. Accept that you're willing to martyr as many people as it takes for your "objective" principles.

    - These are not ‘my’ objective principles. If they were then they would not be objective would they?

    So is that it? Do you want to try and come up with more convincing examples and ones that are not inherently flawed?

    ReplyDelete
  15. There are no examples of actual influential Christians today supporting hatred or the stoning of gays there at your links.

    From http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/ron-paul-hired-anti-gay-activist-to-run-iowa-campaign.php

    Paul’s Iowa chair, Drew Ivers, recently touted the endorsement of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska... Kayser confirmed to TPM that he believed in reinstating Biblical punishments for homosexuals — including the death penalty — even if he didn’t see much hope for it happening anytime soon.

    So, a person endorsing Ron Paul, whom they *publicized* endorsing Ron Paul, supports the death penalty for homosexual acts. That took me 20 seconds on Google.

    However, I have already offered links to valid and respected humanist sites that promote Peter Singer, the “distinguished” secular humanist professor at Princeton who advocates infanticide and bestiality.

    And Tim LaHaye has published a book that includes the claim that the death penalty for homosexuality would be "compassionate". Or is Tim LaHaye un-Christian or non-influential?

    - Your example is flawed. Villagers who feel they must torture babies and pretend the process is fun probably aren’t really having fun or doing it for fun, are they?

    Your reading comprehension is flawed. I was specifically addressing point #3, regarding "opposing and resisting." All the villagers need to do to remain alive is to be silent in the face of torture -- but at that point they are either:

    a) Supporting it, which is wrong,
    b) Failing to resist it, which is not-right, (and is there a difference between not-right and wrong? If so, see point c) )
    or
    c) Falling in a complicated moral middle ground, which is what you are claiming doesn't exist.

    In the case you provided, the guilt would be on the heads of the murderers not those who refused to torture. Those who refused to torture would be morally justified.

    And those who did not object? Remember, you're claiming universal applicability here -- not "It's true under some conditions." Under *every* condition: 3. To oppose and resist X is always right.

    Or are you arguing that staying silent is neither resisting -- bringing death -- or supporting -- bringing complicity -- but is instead morally neutral?

    Our responsibility is to act in the present in accordance with both our conscience and moral virtue, best outlined by the teachings of Christ.

    So what would you do, Rick? Would you stay silent and complicit in the face of the torture, or would you object and doom yourself and everyone in your village to death?

    Remember, if your law is as clear-cut and objective as you say it is, there is only one right answer.


    - These are not ‘my’ objective principles. If they were then they would not be objective would they?


    There's a reason I put the quotes around "objective", Rick. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. >G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska...

    - Yup, he sounds truly "massive" in his influence. Nice try though. :-)

    >Tim LaHaye has published a book that includes the claim that the death penalty for homosexuality would be "compassionate".

    - Seems like you grossly misquoted Tim: "He speculates whether those who accept gays even though they are so unhappy or "those who practiced Old Testament capital punishment" on gays are more "cruel and inhuman."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_LaHaye

    >I was specifically addressing point #3, regarding "opposing and resisting."

    - What happened to points 1 and 2? You can't address them?

    The rest of your points are addressed in my latest article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is funny how you are trying to change the subject. Do you retract your statement that to oppose and resist X is always right?

      Delete
    2. - Yup, he sounds truly "massive" in his influence. Nice try though. :-)

      I notice you moved the goalposts again, Rick.

      There are no examples of actual influential Christians today supporting hatred or the stoning of gays there at your links.

      Or is an endorsement worth touting on the front page of a candidate's website not "influential"?

      The "massive" you tried to sneak back in there came from my reference to the entire movement of Christian Dominionism -- on which R.J. Rushdoony was extremely influential. I didn't just list him again as he's died.

      "He speculates whether those who accept gays even though they are so unhappy or "those who practiced Old Testament capital punishment" on gays are more "cruel and inhuman."

      So, wait, it's a debate on whether it's more "cruel and inhuman" to execute gays or to accept them? And this is an example of a good Christian?

      - What happened to points 1 and 2? You can't address them?

      I picked point #3. You asserted, and I quote:

      One logical example would prove me wrong.

      I gave you one.

      Q.E.D.

      The rest of your points are addressed in my latest article.

      I shall have to go see what strawmen you conjure up there.

      Delete
  17. >Do you retract your statement that to oppose and resist X is always right?

    No, the reasons are outlined in the following article:

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/atheist-achilles-heels-objective.html?showComment=1344599235028#c6360566735280944177

    ReplyDelete

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